Canadian companies bidding to win fracking contracts to be awarded by Colombia in September/October
Colombian human rights defenders Julia Figueroa and Andrea Nocove from the Luis Carlos Perez Lawyers’ Collective (CCALCP) and Ivan Madero from the Regional Corporation for the Defence of Human Rights (CREDHOS) raised concerns about fracking in Colombia when they visited Canada in November 2019.
On June 11, Business News Americas reported: “Colombia is on track to award contracts for fracking pilots this year as the government fast tracks plans for unconventional oil and gas drilling, according to a senior energy official.”
That article quotes Armando Zamora, the head of national hydrocarbons regulator ANH, who says the contracts will be awarded in September or October.
Vanguardia further quotes Zamora who says: “That regulation [for fracking pilot project] is already in drafts. Next month the final rules will come out. That has advanced on schedule and is advancing rapidly.”
Canadian companies seeking these contracts
The BNAmericas article also highlights: “ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, Parex, Drummond and state-run oil firm Ecopetrol are among companies that have submitted plans for unconventional pilots in the Andean nation.”
Toronto-based Sintana Energy and its subsidiary Patriot Energy Oil & Gas Inc. are reportedly part of a joint venture with ExxonMobil to frack the VMM-37 bock near Puerto Wilches, Santander. And Calgary-based Canacol Energy Ltd. and its subsidiary CNE Oil and Gas are reportedly partnered with ConocoPhillips to frack the VMM-2 and VMM-3 blocks near Puerto Patiño and San Martin, Cesar.
Last year, along with ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips and Ecopetrol, Colombian Mines and Energy Minister Maria Fernanda Suarez noted that Calgary-based Parex Resources was among the companies seeking to frack in Colombia.
And while not reported as a contender for fracking, Toronto-based Frontera Energy is a minority owner in 236,000 barrel per day pipeline that runs from the Magdalena Medio region to Coveñas on the Caribbean coast that is ready to move increased crude output if fracking is approved beyond the pilot projects.
Opposition to fracking in Colombia
In February 2019, a poll found that more than 90 per cent of Colombians are opposed to fracking in their country.
The concerns being expressed include: the divisions extractivism can cause in communities, the safety of social leaders opposed to fracking, the possible contamination of drinking water and impacts on fishing villages, the lack of social licence, and climate change.
The Union of Workers of the Petroleum Industry (USO) voted against fracking in November 2019 and the National Strike Committee submitted 104 demands, including opposition to fracking, to the government in December 2019.
The Alliance for a Colombia Free of Fracking has also stated that fracking would violate the Colombian constitutional principles that guarantee citizens the right to life, the right to water, and the right to a healthy environment.
Peace Brigades International in Colombia and Canada continues to support human rights defenders raising concerns with Canadian officials and the broader public about the impacts of Canadian oil and gas activities on communities and social leaders.
It is expected that the fracking pilot projects will begin in 2021.